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NWN2 Beta impressions

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NWN2 Beta impressions

Review - posted by Vault Dweller on Tue 24 October 2006, 14:51:29

Tags: Neverwinter Nights 2; Obsidian Entertainment

I've received these NWN2 Beta impressions from an anonymous source brave enough to disregard the NDA agreement:

The character appearance creation interface is streamlined compared to say Oblivion leaving few choices to customize you character once you’ve chosen a race. This was perfect for me since I don’t particularly care what my character looks like. I started with a lawful good aasimar paladin. The usual options are there for DnD stats creation, you can choose to pick your individual stats or go with a pre-made package such as Paladin Undead Hunter. The character voices are lifted straight out of the previous game with the intensely annoying evangelist still present, there are however a number of new additions.

The addition of the tiefling and aasimar races was a nice touch, though without multiple playthroughs I can’t tell how it affects balance.

I maxed out the graphics textures at first which resulted in a good looking game but very low framerate, fraps had it at 20 fps. Reducing the resolution and textures had little effect. This appears to be a constant and a lot of people have posted on the beta boards about it. There is also no way to set AA in game, this may be just the beta. I forced it on the graphics card controls which improved the look considerably.

Within the first 10 minutes play of the game I had encountered two of my all time favourite people, Charles Xavier from X-men and Elvis. I wish I was kidding, they have a gruff southerner with the massive pork chop sideburns and bald guy with the voice from the old X-men cartoons. This may be a nod to the Patrick Stewart jokes that haunted Oblivion.

The interface feels more like an update of Baldurs Gate than NWN. The radial is completely gone. Multiple character control is handled pretty much identically to the way the IE games handled it. To me it’s a major improvement, I do prefer single characters but if you are going to have a party, in a RT with pause game, this is the way to handle it. I have to say without a great deal of playing it feels much more like a spiritual successor to the IE games, than a sequel to NWN.
...
Well I've given it a bit more game time, played through the first part of the OC that I had access too, basically the tutorial, and some multiplayer.

Likes:

-The new interface much better than the radial
-The dialogue, dialogue skills actually give options. Think KOTOR, only had access to the start and that was basically diplomacy- "gimme more stuff" but I did talk myself out of a fight with some lizardmen. Of course I had to got through a hell of a lot of figthing to get to where I could negotiate my way out of things. It was nice of the Lizardmen leader to let me go after I'd slaughtered so many of his buddies.
- Graphics, definite improvement but there are some issues - see below
- Influence - Decisions that match a companions alignment , I saw the influence gains but not the results.
- Storyline - From what little i've seen we still have the potential for massive cliches. We have a main character whose past is shrouded in mystery, raised by a foster father not knowing where he has come from. Still though there is the evidence of some potential subtleties, a cold and distant father, the arrogant mage master hiding his war history. I could be filling in the blanks and being overly optimistic, but I was left hopeful.

Dislikes

- Its still realtime with pause
- Major graphics slowdown issue but I expect that to be solved in time.
- Combat is still too manic for proper strategic play, in my opinion.
- Still promises endless dungeon hacks even with the additional dialogue options.

I get the impression we are looking at KOTOR 2 in DND territory, with better combat and the added attraction of the toolset.
...
(At this point I asked some questions - VD)
...
1. The tutorial integrates testing the various aspects of the UI well in the form of a town fair with various challenges. As far as tutorials go its fairly painless and relatively short. There are some nice touches, for example in the battle part you meet three brothers who are your typical town bullies. Later when the town is attacked you find one of them injured and have the options [dialogue] of healing, or slitting his throat.

2. Nope, you have to fight at some stage. You're going through a dungeon hack of lizard men, when you reach the end room their Leader is performing some ritual. When you enter dialogue you have the option of using diplomacy to compare the plight of your village, which has just been attacked, with their battle with other beasts. I found this amusing considering I'd just slaughtered the majority of his people on the way to that room. Using diplomacy he agrees not to attack if you help him agains his foes in future. Before this , the attack on the town , sees a small horde of people attack with no option of dialogue. So no matter which way you cut it you're going to be seeing a lot of combat in this game.

3. I haven't seen the depth of how Influence works. From what I played, you make a choice and based on the apparent alignment of that choice you gain influence. I didn't have enough of the game to play to see how that could play out. I think the influence moments are arbitrary since when I chose not to kill the bully, instead healing him, I gained no influence with my lawful good party members.

4. You get two party members at the start who are basic cookie cutter characters. A female mage and a male warrior. Nothing noteworthy or interesting about them at all. Well apart from the fact the female mage gets deep fried when the town is attacked.
The one saving grace is you don't leave the town with either, when you head to neverwinter you walk alone. There are some relatively interesting characters though, the father and the town mage, so theres a lot of potential there for a good story.

The story will be "epic", but I feel like they will sneak some subtlety in there, i'm optimistic it will have more depth that NWN 1, though it would be hard for it to have less. My guess at the story so far, the main character appeared mysteriously during a battle involving demons that hit the town years before. You're foster father raised you and will aviod talking about your mother. He finds a silver shard which he hides in a cave and asks you to retrieve and bring to Neverwinter after the battle.

One of the loading screen information points describes a silver sword the githzerai/githyanki use that can sever the tie between an astral walker and his body killing him immediately, doesn't take a huge leap of logic to tell you what the silver shard is from. The first non tutorial mission is to find your foster fathers brother and get the other part of the shard, as this appears to be what the attackers were after. My guess is there is some planar war spilling over to neverwinter, the attacker that kills your mage npc appears to be a githzerai/githyanki.

Hope thats helpful in some way.
It was. Thanks for the coverage.

There are 77 comments on NWN2 Beta impressions

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